National Quail Championship
Back: Jaime Fountain, Robert Tomczak; Judges: Mike Crouse and Mary Crouse Schalk, Stephanie Fidler, Brian Gingrich, Carrie Syczylo, Brian Fidler, and Ron Chenowith. Front: Mark Johnson with the winner, A Case for JT Becker, and Andrew Fidler with runner up, Burr Oak's Ellie Mae.

National Quail Derby Classic
Back: Judge: Peter Coppens, Steph Fidler, Brian Gingrich Judge: Mark Johnson, Brian Fidler, Andrew Fidler, Carrie Syczylo, Robert Tomczak. Front: Carlie Syczylo with the winner Fiddler's Big Finale, Ron Chenoweth with Red Bangert's Red Baron, and Mikayle Syczylo with Fidler's CK Ragin Bull.

By Robert Tomczak

The National Vizsla Association National Quail Championship and companion Derby Classic was contested at Pyramid State Park in Pinckneyville, Illinois. October 26-29 marked the 6th running of this event as a championship and third year on the Denmark Grounds at Pyramid State Park. Entries were down this year with another vizsla breed championship running right up until our draw time. Nonetheless 16 quality dogs were drawn and ran in the championship and 17 were drawn and ran in the derby.

The champion emerged in Bravo Haulin's Stage Winner, female vizsla owned by James Gingrich of Winnebago, IL. The champion, Brie, was handled by his son and professional trainer Brian Gingrich of Rockford, IL. Brie has been no stranger to the winners circle and was runner up at this championship in 2012. What a great year for Jim Gingrich in that another of his females, Burr Oak's Durite Tess, was named runner-up. Tess was also handled by his son Brian Gingrich.

Bravo Haulin's Stage Winner "Brie" (Gingrich) ran in the second brace and was one of the most competitive braces of the stake with her brace mate Shiloh's Red White and Blue "Blue" (Tomczak). Brie ran a classy nice forward race. She ran edges nicely and started with a find at 5 with all in order on the left wood-line edge of the corn field after the creek crossing. She stayed consistent and handled nicely throughout. She slowed a little at 30 but got going again. Both dogs worked hard for birds but to no avail until they exited the big cattle pasture crossing the road into the large bean field. Blue was found standing stylishly to the front on his only find at the back of the big bean field at 54. Birds flushed from the cover from the backside of Blue as Tomczak approached. Brie was working the edge up to the front and had her second find come a few hundred yards from Blue. Bird work was solid and stylish on both dogs. As both dogs were cast, they were seen going away over the rise on the final edge of the bean field at time.

Burr Oak's Durite Tess "Tess" (Gingrich) was crowned runner-up and ran in the first brace of the first day with Lundy's Red Bull (Miller). Both dogs started strong and swung to the front. They hunted hard with a workman effort. Bull dug in and hunted the woods but shortened at times. He disappeared at 35 and Miller called for the tracker at 50 ending his bid. Tess hunted and shortened at the midpoint but got going again and had a nice find at 40 with all in order. She continued forward handling nicely and working at a comfortable range. Tess finished on the edge to the front going away. Tess was third in the Derby Classic at this event in 2011.

Another notable performance was Lundy's Fiddlin with Fire "Cali" (Syczylo) owned by Brian Fidler. Cali had a nice ground race, and classy way of going. She stayed on her edges well, but got dug in after the swing on the last bean field and unfortunately Syczylo had to call for the tracker.

The Derby Classic was a competitive derby with many nice performances and the judges had to really split hairs to make the final decision. The winner was Midnight Run's Probable Cause "Kayla" (Gingrich) for owner Jeff Zenas of Dexter, MI. Kayla ran in the second brace and had two big forward moves and was attractive on the ground. She had one nice stylish find and stood steady to wing. Kayla finished strong and to the front at time. Second went to Shawnee's Golden Lioness "Kate" (Gingrich) for owner Joe Fitzsimmons of Chicago, IL. Kate also had a nice race with a stylish find steady to wing. She was independent and forward and handled kindly when called upon. Kate finished strong to the front but not quite as big as the winner. Third place winner, Crimson's Double Twenty Gauge "Gauge" (Johnson) for owner Mark Spurgeon of Belvidere, IL ran in the eighth brace. Gauge had an attractive gate, handled nicely and was consistently forward in the pocket. He had one stylish find steady to wing and one nonproductive. He finished forward going away but was not as big as the other winners.

Two other dogs that showed very well that pushed our winners were Hillbillies Omaha Hero "Dutch" (McPherson) and Cali's Wiki Wik Mai Tai At Sunset "Ty" (Chadwell). Dutch was strong and powerful with a huge finish and a find, but got out of pocket at times. Ty showed great potential, fast and independent with a find but also out of pocket and erratic at times. Both dogs showed great promise.

Judges for this renewal of the Championship were returning judge Phil Tiller of Gillespie, IL and James Juergens of Mount Ayr, IA. Both men have been involved with dogs for many years. We greatly appreciate their time with this being the second year returning for Phil and for James Juergens filling in on a short notice. They were attentive and polite to all participants. Phil Tiller and Robert Tomczak of Elk Mound, WI were judges for the Derby Classic.

We of course want to thank our longtime sponsors Purina for the donation of ProPlan Performance dog food and to Tri-Tronics and Garmin for the training collars and certificates. Thanks to Dogs Unlimited for merchandise gift certificates. It is because of the generosity of these great companies that we are able to make this a class event and we could not do it without them. All the winners at this event feed Purina Pro Plan and are protected by Garmin tracking collars.

Last but not least, thank you to all who helped to run this event. This was one of the nicest, most helpful groups of people that attended this year. Almost everyone helped in some way and pitched in whenever asked. Special thank you to Mike and Carrie Syczylo for supplying the quail and helping care for and bag birds, Chad Chadwell and his lovely wife Nancy for running the dog wagon and making food pickup and arrangements, Laura Miller for dog wagon and food help, Mark Johnson for running the dog wagon and for all he does with the Field Trial Clubs of IL. Great things are happing in IL with these grounds as well as others, and thanks to Cha Hill, site manager, for the hard work him and his staff put in maintaining these grounds; they were great this year. Thanks to Lisa Riddle coming all the way from British Columbia, Canada to enter and help; the McPherson clan, Forest and Josh for coming all the way from Utah, to help where needed; plant birds, and miscellaneous jobs. To any I may have missed, Thank You and a big thanks to all that come to support with their entries. I could not manage this event each year without your help and support. Hope to see everyone next year at the Denmark Grounds of Pyramid State Park in IL on October 26-29, 2014.